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Verizon 5G Coverage


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Whatever their current LTE bandwidth is on 850MHz is the same for NR. However, because it's split between both LTE and NR, it'll mean slower speeds on both networks. This seems worse for everyone until Verizon transitions enough users to 5G that they can dedicate all of their available 850MHz bandwidth to NR.

I do like their 5G coverage map though. I wish T-Mobile would be as upfront about mmWave coverage. In some markets like NYC, T-Mobile's mmWave network is much larger than Verizon's though it is also much slower since T-Mobile owns a lot less mmWave spectrum than Verizon here.

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It's a little surprising just how little 5G VZW has on their "nationwide" rollout. On one hand, they didn't have the excuse of FirstNet to touch a ton of cell sites. On the other, this looks like a fraction of the area covered by B5 licenses. There's plenty of room for improvement, but they went from not having 5G in a bunch of large metros to...still not having 5G in a bunch of large metros. 99% sure T-Mobile's n71 was bigger at launch than VZW's is now, and I wouldn't be surprised if AT&T's was as well, despite not launching with DSS.

I saw something on Reddit about VZW not wanting to run n2 because they'd have to use a low-band anchor for that, which would mean the (old, congested) B13 LTE that they started with a decade ago. At this rate, I wouldn't be terribly surprised if they waited until they had SA ready to launch n2, and at that point we'll probably see n66 as well.

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It is enough coverage to hit 200M pops so there is that.  Seems more important and gets VZW up there into AT&T/TMobile in terms of covered people.  Plus these sites likely have been getting strong builds to where VZ needs it to keep their LTE strong.

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Looking at the map in this area (Fairfax County, VA), I see sites that I know do not have Band 5 LTE that are showing as having 5G NR.  I need to check if PCS is now running on some of them, as I've not done that in a while.  If it is, then PCS.  If not, AWS.

EDIT:  In Richmond, they hold both the A- and B-blocks in 850 MHz.  Pretty sure they're using 850 MHz there based on the far less defined coverage area, but I wonder if they're doing DSS at all and are, instead, splitting the spectrum.  Maybe next time I'm down that way I'll take my spectrum analyzer and see what I can see.

- Trip

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On 10/14/2020 at 2:14 PM, Trip said:

Looking at the map in this area (Fairfax County, VA), I see sites that I know do not have Band 5 LTE that are showing as having 5G NR.  I need to check if PCS is now running on some of them, as I've not done that in a while.  If it is, then PCS.  If not, AWS.

EDIT:  In Richmond, they hold both the A- and B-blocks in 850 MHz.  Pretty sure they're using 850 MHz there based on the far less defined coverage area, but I wonder if they're doing DSS at all and are, instead, splitting the spectrum.  Maybe next time I'm down that way I'll take my spectrum analyzer and see what I can see.

- Trip

Here AT&T is the one with both CLR-A and CLR-B. If I force B5 on my S20, I see a bandwidth of 10 MHz. When my Nighthawk M1 was active I saw 20 MHz there so I'm not 100% certain what's going on, but AT&T may have decided DSS wasn't worth it here and gone back to dedicated channels for LTE and NR. Should be able to investigate in a week or so when a family member with and AT&T phone is back in town.

VZW could handle things similarly if they think they have enough 5G phones in the field. Throw 10 MHz at NR, 15 MHz at LTE, with PRB blanking to slip some CDMA in there. Or just run 10x10 of each and don't do anything special for the CDMA channels.

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  • 1 month later...

Yesterday and today, I got reports from folks on VZW that they have 5G here in Austin now. VZW doesn't have B5 here, so they're either doing n2 or n66. Speeds are 105-140 down, 27-30 up. VZW has 15 MHz of contiguous PCS here as I recall, and I believe they have at least one 15 MHz AWS channel as well; will have to check one of my now-VZW-based family members' phones when they're here next to confirm channel bandwidths.

If I had to guess, I'd say VZW is running n2 here because, to my knowledge, site spacing isn't particularly dense so the extra propagation loss of using AWS would present a problem, compounded with NR being more fragile than LTE. Kinda wonder how much further n2 reaches vs. M-MIMO n41 (or if VZW's n2/66 also uses Massive MIMO).

Either way, in order to get consistent 5G coverage, VZW will need to deploy a *much* denser network in n2/66 markets than in n5 markets (which in turn is denser than n71 requires). This probably means they'll have more NR capacity here than T-Mobile or AT&T as a baseline; AT&T is 10 MHz n5, TMo is 15 MHz n71, both dedicated. Of course, that changes as soon as n41 shows up, and TMo *can* exceed VZW's capacity even on low-band by adding site density on n71.

Further down the road, I expect VZW will light up a ton of markets simultaneously with C-band NR as soon as the lower part of the band is cleared (zero doubt in my mind that they'll get a significant amount of the early-clearing spectrum that also sites in the n78 band), rather like they flipped the switch on Nationwide 5G overnight. With that said, I'm pretty sure VZW's site density in my neck of the woods isn't enough to provide consistent C-band coverage. On the other hand, I expect that anywhere with CBRS LTE now...in an early-clearing area...will get C-Band NR coverage in a year.

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